37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.3”
Mother Theresa said “If you judge people, you have no time to love them”.
I heard this quotation last Sunday when Scott Marques preached about judging. One of those ouch moments when you know that God is talking to you…about you. “Do not judge…” We judge people by making a negative assessment of them without being willing to stand in solidarity with them, to come alongside them and help where help is needed. If you are anything like me, you find it easier to make a judgement from afar than to come close to find out what is really going on and to offer a hand of fellowship, solidarity and help. We see the speck in a brother’s eye and yet we see it through the plank of judgement that is in our own eye. We will never see that speck for what it really is, nor will we be able to help take it out. Our problem is bigger, that of judgement. That plank needs to be first removed. Ouch.
“Do not condemn…“. What is it about us? Jesus, the most holy person there ever was has clearly told us that He doesn’t not condemn us. How do we figure to take it upon ourselves to be the condemners of the brethren? We condemn others when we relegate them to a class of status or behaviour that is not as good as our own. We declare them a failure. We state that they are not good enough. We set ourselves above them. How does this fit where Jesus has clearly said of those that we choose to condemn, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”? Crazy? Yeah!
“Forgive…” OK, it gets harder. We need to extend grace and mercy. If our foregoing assumption (which is usually wrong) that the other person is wrong, the command to us is to forgive. That’s what Jesus did with us when actually we were totally wrong and He was so totally right! It takes a big person to forgive!
“Give…“. The pendulum has swung completely from where we are judging to where we are giving and showing generosity. Jesus doesn’t make this easy, but yet again He never said that was His objective. It may not be easy but it is rewarding and fulfilling. When we give it comes back to us. A non-believer said to me last week, “what goes around comes around”. I dismissed it at the time, but hey maybe he was right.
Regardless of who is wrong, relationships would work a whole lot better if our starting point is not to be self-righteous and judgemental but to extend grace and to be generous.